Notorious French Cat Abuser Gets Prison Time as Kitten Recovers

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February 3, 2014; Oscar is photographed with a veterinarian at the SPA (Society for the Protection of Animals) center in Marseille, France.


The French kitten seen in an abuse video that ignited international outrage when the abuser posted it to Facebook in recent days is recovering from a stomach injury and a leg fracture. A remarkably fast arrest and conviction saw the abuser sentenced to a year in prison on Monday.

Marseilles resident Farid Ghilas was walking down the street with the accomplice who shot the video when he picked up the orange and white kitten named Oscar, threw him high into the air and into the bushes and then picked him back up and forcefully hurled him against the wall of a block of flats. The kitten fell heavily to the ground.

Ghilas, who is reported to have eight prior criminal convistions, posted the brutal video to his personal Facebook profile. The video  was seen by viewers who were horrified by the cruelty and Ghilas took it down, but not before still images and page screenshots were saved as evidence and widely shared.  Animal activists at Facebook networked the crime and called for justice, and the Brigitte Bardot Foundation, filed for charges against the abuser.

Ghilas was arrested on Friday.

A petition with 260,000 signatures calling for  “exemplary punishment” was sent to justice minister Christiane Taubira and justice minister Manuel Valls. The petition also asked the government to “establish a radical law against barbarity to animals, and to severely punish those who torture innocent animals”.

A crowd of 200 animal activists were gathered outside the courtroom on Monday when Ghilas was found guilty of  “acts of cruelty against a domestic and tame animal” and sentenced to one year in jail.  He is also forbidden to keep animals. The crime could have brought up to a two year sentence and 30k Euros fine.

“He acted with a singular perversity and sadism that has shocked the entire planet,” said the prosecuter, Emmanuel Merlin.

Ghilas said he regretted his actions and told the court, “We were walking in the street. I saw the cat, he came towards me and I did it without thinking. I don’t know whose idea it was to film it.’

The Brigitte Bardot Foundation spoke out against the act of animal cruelty but also expressed concern over the “tribune offered by social media” and the inflammatory racist and anti-foreigner hate speech directed toward Ghilas, who is of North African origin.

Outrage over the cruel act was combined with concern over the kitten’s fate, which remained unknown until Sunday when he was found.  The kitten was identified as a 5 month old named Oscar.

According to France 24: “The Marseille division of SPA, France’s animal welfare society, says it is treating Oscar for a broken foot and a stomach injury suffered in the attacks, which occurred after the accused found the kitten on a street. The owner later recovered his pet and brought it to the SPA for treatment.”

Oscar will go home when he is deemed ready.

The SPA says that Oscar has become an ambassador for all animal victims of intolerable violence.

February 3, 2014; Oscar is photographed with a veterinarian at the SPA (Society for the Protection of Animals) center in Marseille, France.


Farid Ghilas holds Oscar up in front of the camera in the abuse video.


The composite photo with scenes from the video that brought worldwide outrage when is was widely shared on social media.






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